The quake had a magnitude of 3.9 with reports of tremors in Sheffield, Leeds, Hull and other areas of the county.
The British Geological Survey said it happened at just before 11.15pm on Saturday with the epicentre in Grimsby at a depth of 11 miles.
Such earthquakes are not uncommon in the UK, happening every two years on average.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre, an independent monitoring group, said it had reports from people more than 60 miles from the epicentre who had experienced the tremor.
For sale: The quirky Yorkshire rural buildings with conversion potentialGeorge Griffiths wrote on Twitter: "I felt it in Sheffield, it kept stopping and starting so I'm not sure if it was multiple earthquakes in quick succession, or just one we couldn't feel the weaker parts of due to the distance.
Glynis Walsh wrote: "Just a little earthquake in Leeds. Bit of rattling in the room but nothing major! Hope that's it for tonight as I need some sleep!"