The dominant hydrogen impurity in synthetic quartz is molecular H2O. H-OH groups also occur, but there is no direct evidence for the hydrolysis of Si-O-Si bonds to yield Si-OH HO-Si groups. Molecular H2O concentrations in the synthetic quartz crystals studied range from less than 10 to 3,300 ppm (H/Si), and decrease smoothly by up to an order of magnitude with distance away from the seed. OH- concentrations range from 96 to 715 ppm, and rise smoothly with distance away from the seed by up to a factor of three. The observed OH- is probably all associated with cationic impurities, as in natural quartz. Molecular H2O is the dominant initial hydrogen impurity in weak quartz. The hydrolytic weakening of quartz may be caused by the transformation H2O + Si-O-Si ??? 2SiOH, but this may be a transitory change with the SiOH groups recombining to form H2O, and the average SiOH concentration remaining very low. Synthetic quartz is strengthened when the H2O is accumulated into fluid inclusions and cannot react with the quartz framework. ?? 1984 Springer-Verlag.