The quake, initially reported as a magnitude 6.3, was centered 36 miles (58 km) northeast of Kerman, which has a population of more than 821,000. It was the biggest tremor to strike the East Coast in six years.
Martin Pagliughi, coordinator of the Cape May County Office of Emergency Management, said he felt the tremors.
People from Baltimore, Boston, New York City, New Jersey and Philadelphia felt it. USGS says the quake was shallow - only 5 miles deep which helps amplify its effect.
Initial reports stated the quake was a 5.1 magnitude, but has since been downgraded to a 4.4.
Paul Caruso is a geophysicist with the USGS's quake information center in Colorado.
The New York City emergency response system sent an alert that no injuries or damage were immediately reported in the city.
It was followed by two less powerful 5.0 and 5.1 aftershocks in the same area, the survey said.
"I felt the whole house nearly like waving", he said. "Usually the largest aftershocks we see in a series is about 1 magnitude smaller than the main quake". She said there were no signs of damage at the base nor would there be any change in its operation. "I stepped outside and spoke to some co-workers who weren't really sure what was going on either", Jenne explained. The impact of that quake included damage to the Washington Monument and National Cathedral in Washington, both of which are still undergoing repairs.