Design Earthquakes – Definitions

For Concrete Structures: OBE (operational basis earthquake) = 144-yr Return Period (50 percent chance of being exceeded in 100 years).

Max. Design EQ: for Structures Defined As Critical use MCE, In general for other structures, MDE = 950-yr return period (10 percent chance of being exceeded in 100 years).

MCE is defined as the greatest earthquake that can reasonable be expected to be generated by a specific source (which comes from a deterministic site hazard analysis).

USACE references: Stability Analysis of Concrete StructuresEarthquake Design and Evaluation of Concrete Hydraulic StructuresEarthquake Design and Evaluation for CW ProjectsSafety of Dams – Policies and Procedures.

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