Far north Queensland residents have been shaken by a magnitude 4.0 earthquake off the coast, but authorities have been quick to assure residents there is no tsunami threat.

The shallow earthquake struck at 4.08pm yesterday about 30 kilometres east of Innisfail.

Geoscience Australia duty seismologist Jonathan Bathgate said there was no danger to people or property.

"From the reports we're getting, people have felt some minor shaking, rattling windows, that sort of thing," he said.

"We haven't had any reports of damage and we probably wouldn't expect that for this size earthquake at that sort of distance.

"And generally from an earthquake this size, there's certainly no tsunami threat. We get this sort of magnitude earthquake across Australia pretty regularly."

Dr Bathgate said such 4.0 tremors had previously been recorded in the area, in November 1989 and May 1990.

"It's not a common occurrence but it has happened in the past," he said.

"Queensland doesn't have as many earthquakes as other parts of Australia -- some parts of Australia are much more seismically active than this area."