The U.S. Geological Survey said nearly 5,000 people reported on its website that they felt the magnitude 5.3 quake, when it struck shortly before midnight Saturday near King City, about 40 miles southeast of Salinas.
USGS geophysicist Amy Vaughan says the temblor struck along the San Andreas Fault and was followed by at least four aftershocks that were greater than magnitude 2.5.
The sheriff departments for Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties both said they have no reports of any damage.
"We did have people call in but there no reports of any damage," said Shawna Schaffer, a dispatch with the San Luis Obispo department.
Vaughan said a magnitude 5 quake is capable of causing damage, most often knocking things to fall off shelves and making moderate cracks in walls and foundations.