A magnitude 3.8 earthquake at a depth of just 3.0 miles hit central Indiana at 6:55am local time (12:55 GMT), the USGS said Thursday.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damages from the quake, which was centered 50 miles northeast of Indianapolis.
Local newspaper the Indy Star reports Gabrielle Sauce of Noblesville, Ind., was sitting on her couch when "the house began to rattle and shake." She added, "It lasted probably five to seven seconds."
On social networking site Twitter locals wrote that their houses shook, doors rattled and the earthquake sounded like rolling thunder.
Howard County Chief Sheriff's Deputy Steve Rogers told the Associated Press that the department was bombarded by phone calls after the quake from people wondering what had happened. He says some people reported hearing a loud boom.
Indiana University geologist Michael Hamburger told Indianapolis television station WTHR that the quake was felt across central Indiana and into western Ohio. He said the temblor occurred in an area "that's seismically very quiet."
The quake was initially recorded as magnitude 4.2, but upon review, the USGS downgraded it to magnitude 3.8.
Most of North America east of the Rocky Mountains has infrequent earthquakes, the USGS said. A magnitude 4.0 eastern U.S. earthquake typically can be felt at many places as far as 60 miles (100 km) from where it occurred, and it infrequently causes damage near its source.
The most damaging earthquake to hit the state occurred on September 27, 1909, near the Illinois border. Some chimneys fell, several building walls were cracked, light connections were severed, and pictures were shaken off the walls, the USGS says.