The morphology and the appearance of quartz grains reveal the history of their movement and sedimentation. Consequently, many researchers have tried to decipher geological 'memory' using binocular microscopes and transmission and scanning electron-microscopes. Krinsley and his colleagues, most notably, have consequently been able to define some superficial characteristics of quartz grains from glacial, fluvo-glacial, littoral and aeolian regions. Thanks to the work of Cailleux (1942) and Cailleux & Trichard (1959) on morphoscopy, we now know that a binocular microscope allows us to recognize in most cases a marine or fluvo-glacial sand which has been subjected to wind or water-transport. The present author believes that in this work, the principal value of the electron-scanning microscope, thanks to the powerful magnifications that it allows, would be to determine the characterization of incipient modification on very slightly modified quartz grains and not those of advanced development visible with low magnification. It is not possible to study separately mechanical and chemical effects; however, the simultaneous study of these, of their causes and of their interactions, in different surroundings has enabled the author to draw up an atlas of the surface aspects presented by quartz grains at various stages of pedological evolution and to characterize fluviatile, inter-tidal, infra-tidal and wind-eroded features of differing intensity, even when these are only slightly marked on the grains. One of the first applications of this method here called exoscopy was undertaken on quartz samples from cores taken in the eastern area of the English Channel by the 'Terebel'. Exoscopy and endoscopy (G. Deicha and colleagues) permit the reconstruction of a large part of the geological history of detrital quartzes by going back, step by step, to the original formation.