MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Researchers are working with the National Park Service to study the karst formations beneath the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park and possible threats to them.

West Virginia University doctoral candidate John Tudek and geology professor Dorothy Vesper are part of the $218,000, two-year project.

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The team will divide up the caves, sinkholes, springs and other areas that park visitors don’t see.

They’ll gather data on biology, geochemistry and hydrology, then rate each parcel for sensitivity and threats.

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An area with unique features or creatures would be labeled sensitive. If it faces an imminent and drastic change, it’s considered threatened.

The team includes scientists from Temple University and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

The work will also lead to educational exhibits for park visitors.

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