The USGS, which described the earthquake as "moderate," said the magnitude was 5.0.
The quake was 8.4 miles deep and centered near the community of Lennox, about 10 miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles.
Residents across a wide area of Los Angeles felt a sharp rumbling that lasted 10 to 15 seconds at about 8:39 p.m. (11:39 p.m. EDT). A spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department said there were no immediate reports of damage or injury.
Local police and fire departments scoured neighborhoods throughout Southern California for signs of damage afterwards. The quake is the biggest since a 5.5 quake struck the area of Chino Hills, roughly 48 kilometers east of the Los Angeles Civic Center last July 29. There were no reports of damage or injuries during that quake, either.