Residents of Canberra's northern suburbs were woken with a bang yesterday when a small earthquake hit at about 5.45am.

A spokesperson for Geoscience Australia said preliminary investigations pointed to the earthquake originating from about about 15 kilometres east of Murrumbateman, and measuring about 2.8 in magnitude.

People from as far away as Gungahlin, Belconnen and Yass reported hearing a bang and feeling their homes shake as a result.

The quake was smaller than the one of magnitude 3.7 that occurred halfway between Canberra and Tumut in April