© 2015 The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society and ASM International This article examines the influence of gas atmosphere on the synthesis of silicon carbide by carbothermal reduction of quartz. The quartz was crushed to <70 μm, uniformly mixed with graphite and pressed into pellets. Reduction was studied in isothermal and temperature-programmed reduction experiments in a tube reactor in argon, hydrogen and Ar-H2 gas mixtures. The concentrations of CO, CO2, and CH4 in the off gas were measured online using an infrared gas analyzer. The samples after reduction were characterized by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscope, and LECO analyzer. The carbothermal reduction of quartz in hydrogen was faster than in argon. Formation of silicon carbide started at 1573 K (1300 °C) in argon, and 1473 K (1200 °C) in hydrogen. Synthesis of silicon carbide in hydrogen was close to completion in 270 minutes at 1673 K (1400 °C), 140 minutes at 1773 K (1500 °C), and 70 minutes at 1873 K (1600 °C). Faster carbothermal reduction rate in hydrogen was attributed to the involvement of hydrogen in the reduction reactions by directly reducing silica and/or indirectly, by reacting with graphite to form methane as an intermediate reductant.