The earthquake, which struck the US and Canadian east coast along a corridor stretching from Toronto to central Virginia, shook buildings and forced the evacuation of the Pentagon.
Washington office workers scurried into the streets after the quake, which lasted for about five seconds and sent items crashing to the floor from store and office shelves.
Tremors shook New York City office buildings, prompting evacuations of courthouses, City Hall and even halting work at the World Trade Center construction site.
District Attorney Cyrus Vance, the prosecutor in the sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss Kahn, was preparing to speak to reporters when the earthquake rattled the building.
Prosecutor Cyrus Vance looked around in confusion as media began scurrying for the exits after a particularly strong rumble hit the New York court.
Reggae musician Shaggy was also caught mid-interview, understandably a little shaken as New York City was jolted by a minor earthquake.
“Is it me or is this place shaking right now, why is it shaking? Dude, it’s shaking so much that this thing is actually moving,” said Shaggy looking concerned.