A strong earthquake that shook the high Arctic on Tuesday morning was picked up by seismic instruments as far south as Nevada, but Canadian quake experts say they doubt anyone could have felt the shockwaves.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported that a 5.7-magnitude earthquake took place about 6 a.m. ET in the Arctic Ocean, about 755 kilometres northwest of Resolute, Nunavut, and 1,935 kilometres north of Yellowknife.

"I doubt if this earthquake would be felt by anybody, and we certainly don't have any felt reports so far," Garry Rogers, an earthquake scientist with the Geological Survey of Canada, told CBC News on Tuesday.

"But this earthquake, at sort of magnitude 5.6 [or] 5.7, is big enough to record on virtually every seismograph around the world."

The earthquake made news in northeastern Nevada, where the U.S. Geological Survey initially reported a 4.2 magnitude earthquake about 29 kilometres west of the town of North Fork.

A seismologist reviewed the report and determined that phases from the Arctic Ocean quake, which had started seven minutes earlier, had been wrongly interpreted by a seismograph as a local earthquake, USGS geophysicist Jessica Sigala told the Associated Press.

Sigala said no shaking was felt in Nevada, but that waves from a quake such as the one in the Arctic can be detected around the world.

Had Tuesday's earthquake taken place near a city, it would have been strong enough to damage buildings.

With files from the Associated Press