The epicentre of the earth tremor was Saxton, near Tadcaster, which is 15 miles from York and 12 from Leeds.
The British Geological Survey recorded the movement just after 4.30am on Tuesday morning.
It was measured at a depth of 6km below the ground and reached a magnitude of 1.9 on the Richter scale, meaning it is classed as a microquake.
These earth movements are strong enough to be recorded by seismographic equipment but are rarely felt by humans. A minor quake, from 2 - 2.9 on the scale, can be felt. Several million of these occur a year, mostly in countries with regular tectonic activity.