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The WestField Extension oF Consolidation Coal Company's Burning Star Mine #5 is situated in the Little Muddy River drainage oF northeastern Jackson County, Illinois. It is located within but very near the southern terminus oF the Mt. Vernon Hill Country of the Southern Till Plains Division, with its characteristic mature topography and low relieF, and includes a 4.5 km long segment oF the lower river valley and an area oF uplands lying to the west of the river. Elevation across the study area ranges from about 108 m ASL along the Little Muddy to more than 120 m ASL on adjacent uplands. The northern limits oF the Greater Shawnee Hills Section oF the Shawnee Hills Division approach to within 20 km oF the WestField From the south; at which point the rolling hills and broad alluvial Floodplain oF the Big Muddy River, to which the Little Muddy is tributary, give way to the more strikingly elevated, heavily dissected Shawnee Hills (Schwegman 1975).