The survey said the quake at 10:23 p.m. measured 4.1 on the Richter scale. That is enough to shake buildings and rattle the dishes, although significant damage was considered unlikely.
As many as 15,000 earthquakes of that magnitude are recorded worldwide every year, but they are relatively uncommon in the eastern United States. The largest earthquake recorded in the Edgefield area was a magnitude 5.1 in 1916.
The epicenter was about 3 miles below the surface and 7 miles northwest of Edgefield and 60 miles west-northwest of Columbia, the South Carolina capital, geologists said.
WGHP-TV in western North Carolina reported that residents of High Point, more than 150 miles from the epicenter, reported feeling the earthquake. The tremors were also felt in much of northern Georgia and even in southeastern Tennessee.
The USGS said on its website that small earthquakes are generally felt over a much wider area in the southeastern United States than in the west.