The earthquake, which began around 2 a.m., is not reported to have caused any serious damage or injuries.
Several social media users across the state reported feeling vibrations, some even thought there was an explosion.
The USGS said the earthquake was centered 1.25 miles south, southeast of the center of East Freehold.
The 2 a.m. temblor was felt "in much of central New Jersey," according to the National Weather Service.
Shaking and loud bangs were reported, but no injuries or immediately known damage.
Social media, mostly from central New Jersey residents, reported they thought something hit the house or a low flying plane.
The USGS is reporting that a magnitude 3.1 earthquake has struck near the town of East Freehold, New Jersey early this morning. There have been numerous reports of shaking across the state. The latest information from the USGS here: https://t.co/7Oqrj9y05X pic.twitter.com/I62vRqkuo3— AccuWeather (@breakingweather) September 9, 2020
The earthquake, although small, is also relatively uncommon in the region. A 2.7 earthquake was reported in Bernardsville, New Jersey in 2015.
The Greater Delaware Valley region felt tremors after a 4.1 magnitude quake struck near Dover, Delaware back in December 2017.
And on Aug 23, 2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in central Virginia shook buildings in the tri-state area.