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Published April 25, 2018 | Version 18.4
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Site-Specific MCER Response Spectra for Los Angeles Region based on 3-D Numerical Simulations and the NGA West2 Equations

  • 1. AECOM
  • 2. University of Southern California



The Utilization of Ground Motion Simulation (UGMS) committee of the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) developed site-specific, risk-targeted Maximum Considered Earthquake (MCER) response spectra for the Los Angeles region. The long period (T ≥ 2-sec) MCER response spectra were computed as the weighted average of MCER spectral accelerations derived from (1) 3-D numerical ground-motion simulations using the CyberShake computational platform, and (2) empirical ground-motion prediction equations (GMPEs) from the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) Center NGAWest2 project. The short period (T < 2- sec) MCER response spectra were computed exclusively from the NGAWest2 GMPEs. A web-based lookup tool was also developed so users can obtain the MCER response spectrum for a specified latitude and longitude and for a specified site class or 30-m average shear-wave velocity, VS30. The tool provides acceleration ordinates of the MCER response spectrum at 21 natural periods in the 0 to 10-sec band.

This dataset includes a Java application to run queries. It serves as the backend data source for the web-based tool that can be found at:

For more information, please see


The UGMS MCER Tool is provided "as is" and without warranties of any kind. While SCEC and the UGMS Committee have made every effort to provide data from reliable sources or methodologies, SCEC and the UGMS Committee do not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness, reliability, currency, or quality of any data provided herein. SCEC and the UGMS Committee do not intend the results provided by this tool to replace the sound judgment of a competent professional, who has knowledge and experience in the appropriate field(s) of practice. By using this tool, you accept to release SCEC and the UGMS Committee of any and all liability.

Please note: The site-specific, design response spectral acceleration, Sa, returned by this tool for user-specified inputs, must be compared to the minimum Sa requirement described in Section 21.3 of ASCE 7-16 (second and third paragraphs). This minimum Sa is computed as 80% of the design response spectrum derived from the SDS, SD1, and TL values obtained from the ASCE tool at The larger of the site-specific Sa and the 80% minimum Sa at each period, T, is the final design response spectral acceleration. This final Sa x 1.5 is the final MCER response spectral acceleration.


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Additional details


  • Crouse, C., Jordan, T. H., Milner, K. R., Goulet, C. A., Callaghan, S., & Graves, R. W. (2018, 06). Site-Specific MCER Response Spectra for Los Angeles Region based on 3-D Numerical Simulations and the NGA West2 Equations. Presentation at 11th National Conference in Earthquake Engineering.
  • Crouse, C., & Jordan, T. H. (2016, 10). Development of new ground-motion maps for Los Angeles based on 3-D numerical simulations and NGA West2 equations. Oral Presentation at 2016 California Strong Motion Instrumentation Program Annual Seminar.