Nonlinear analysis tools are gaining prominence for the design and evaluation of concrete gravity dams. The performance limits of concrete gravity dams within the framework of performance based design are challenging to determine in comparison to those used for the assessments based on linear elastic analyses. The uncertainty in quantifying the behavior of these systems and the strong dependence of the behavior on the ground motion play an important role. The purpose of the study is to quantify the damage levels on a representative monolith using incremental dynamic analysis (IDA). For this purpose, the constitutive model utilized was calibrated first to the existing experimental results to verify the ability of the utilized cracking model to simulate the crack propagation process. Next, the relation between the damage levels on the monolith and the ground motion characteristics was investigated. The results of the conducted IDA showed that the engineering demand parameters (EDP) such as the crest displacement and acceleration showed weak correlation with the damage states. The spectral velocity and the peak ground acceleration were determined to be better predictors for the damage on the monolith. Copyright (c) 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.