Lithofacies identification is a primary task in reservoir characterization. Traditional techniques of lithofacies identification from core data are costly, and it is difficult to extrapolate to non-cored wells. We present a low-cost automated technique using Kohonen self-organizing maps (SOMs) to identify systematically and objectively lithofacies from well log data. SOMs are unsupervised artificial neural networks that map the input space into clusters in a topological form whose organization is related to trends in the input data. A case study used five wells located in Appleton Field, Escambia County, Alabama (Smackover Formation, limestone and dolomite, Oxfordian, Jurassic). A five-input, one-dimensional output approach is employed, assuming the lithofacies are in ascending/descending order with respect to paleoenvironmental energy levels. To consider the possible appearance of new logfacies not seen in training mode, which may potentially appear in test wells, the maximum number of outputs is set to 20 instead of four, the designated number of lithosfacies in the study area. This study found eleven major clusters. The clusters were compared to depositional lithofacies identified by manual core examination. The clusters were ordered by the SOM in a pattern consistent with environmental gradients inferred from core examination: bind/boundstone, grainstone, packstone, and wackestone. This new approach predicted lithofacies identity from well log data with 78.8% accuracy which is more accurate than using a backpropagation neural network (57.3%). The clusters produced by the SOM are ordered with respect to paleoenvironmental energy levels. This energy-related clustering provides geologists and petroleum engineers with valuable geologic information about the logfacies and their interrelationships. This advantage is not obtained in backpropagation neural networks and adaptive resonance theory neural networks. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.