The failure mechanism plays an important role in the active seismic earth thrusts acting on cantilever retaining walls. Cantilever retaining walls can be classified as having a long heel or a short heel based on the intersection between the stem of the retaining wall and the failure surface. In the literature, different seismic earth thrust calculation methods have been suggested considering the long heel or the short heel cases. However, no unique study has been done that is applicable to walls with either a long heel or a short heel. The aim of this study is to suggest a new active seismic earth thrust calculation method for granular soils which is applicable to retaining walls with either a short heel or a long heel using a pseudo-static approach. Three different earth thrusts are considered to be acting on three different parts of a wall backface. Each thrust is derived in terms of the parameters defining the wall geometry, the soil properties and the seismic activity. The thrust coefficients are determined by maximizing the sum of the horizontal components of the earth thrusts. An algorithm is developed and coded for this aim. The results of the suggested method are compared with those of other conventional methods and an experimental study. (C) 2019 Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of The Japanese Geotechnical Society.