We used a cathodoluminescence (CL) detector attached to a scanning electron microscope (SEM) to study patterns of variable-intensity CL in quartz grains from a variety of igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary, and shock-deformed (meteorite-impact) rocks. Distinctive fabrics in quartz grains revealed by SEM-imaged differential CL include zoning, healed fractures, complex shears, planar features (shocked quartz), dark CL streaks and patches, indistinct, mottled texture, and nondifferential (low-contrast) CL. Zoning is common in volcanic quartz and some plutonic quartz. Zoned plutonic quartz is distinguished from volcanic quartz by the presence of closed fractures and dark CL streaks and patches. Metamorphic quartz displays either an indistinct, mottled texture, or nearly uniform (nondifferential) CL. Quartz from rocks severely deformed by tectonism displays a complex pattern of multiple, small-scale shears. Quartz from meteorite-impact sites and some system boundaries is characterized by intricate patterns of planar features, presumably created by shock metamorphism. Thus, the SEM-CL fabric-analysis technique provides a rapid method for distinguishing quartz from a variety of source rocks.