Winter 2017 - Professor Davis gives really hard finals. There are terms that I haven't seen in my entire life (even after taking this class). He uses the 30% ABC curve, so I think it's relatively reasonable. The labs are interesting if you like to observe rocks, maps, and earthquake models. I would've gotten a B if I applied letter grade, but I just studied EPS as a personal interest, so there were less stressful when I applied the PNP grading.
Professor Davis is very passionate about the subject. Though he sometimes wandered off topic during lecture, it was usually just to tell an interesting story about some of the work with geophysics that he had done. ESS1 is very enjoyable especially if you attend the field trips. The labs are pretty straightforward and you can get the required texts on amazon for a good price.
First off, the material is TOTALLY awesome. Earthquakes in CA?? Where else can you learn that better? His class, ESS8 though, is not what you would expect. The final exam has a ton of math on it which if you aren't a south campus major will leave you scratching your heads. I understand if the math problems were "plug and go" problems but they AREN'T. You literally have to sit there and THINK about this shit. THAT is pretty bad, especially since there were like 30 problems of 100 on his final like that. That's my only complaint, otherwise the course was enjoyable.
The material is incredibly dry and boring. My friend and I would love to periodically look across the lecture hall to see who'd fallen asleep. People would often leave after a few minutes after lecture started, or you could look across and see tons of people on facebook (more than usual for a lecture, that is). As a person who hates math, I struggled with the midterm and final. The final was 40-something percent math, and there were about 15 formulas to choose from. He rounds your overall grade, not individual test grades. Also, he does not round up. I was .015% from the next letter grade. For those who don't fear math and who like the topic, he's a great guy. Friendly, likes young people, etc. He wears Bill Cosby sweaters and has an Aussie accent.