No injuries were reported and no tsunami warning was issued, KTVU, San Francisco, reported.
The earthquake, 10.3 miles deep at its epicenter, was recorded Sunday night off the coast of Northern California, about 247 miles northwest of Sacramento, the USGS said.
People told KTVU they felt the earth shake as far away as Redwood City.
"Felt the Eureka earthquake all the way down here in Redwood City. Friends up there say shaking lasted 30-60 seconds," said a viewer posted on KTVU's Facebook page.
The USGS recorded at least 13 aftershocks, the strongest being a 4.6 magnitude, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Eureka police Sgt. Brian Stephens told the Times his office received no reports of significant damage or injuries.
"My car was rocking back and forth," said Stephens, who was out on a call when the earthquake hit. "I thought someone was shoving my car back and forth, looked around and nobody was there. Then I realized what was happening."