2014 Natural Disaster Niagara Falls Polar Vortex
Polar Vortex The U.S. side of Niagara Falls is pictured in Niagara Falls, N.Y. on Jan. 8, 2014. The frigid air and "polar vortex" affected about 240 million people in the United States and southern Canada.Aaron Harris—Reuters
2014 Natural Disaster Niagara Falls Polar Vortex
2014 Natural Disaster Niagara Falls Polar Vortex
2014 Natural Disaster Niagara Falls Polar Vortex
2014 Natural Disaster Niagara Falls Polar Vortex
2014 Natural Disaster Niagara Falls Polar Vortex
2014 Natural Disaster Niagara Falls Polar Vortex
2014 Natural Disaster Niagara Falls Polar Vortex
2014 Natural Disaster Niagara Falls Polar Vortex
2014 Natural Disaster Niagara Falls Polar Vortex
2014 Natural Disaster Niagara Falls Polar Vortex
Yosemite Wildfire Stuart Palley Natural Disasters 2014
2014 Natural Disaster Niagara Falls Polar Vortex
2014 Natural Disaster Niagara Falls Polar Vortex
2014 Natural Disaster Niagara Falls Polar Vortex
2014 Natural Disaster Niagara Falls Polar Vortex
2014 Natural Disaster Niagara Falls Polar Vortex
Polar Vortex The U.S. side of Niagara Falls is pictured in Niagara Falls, N.Y. on Jan. 8, 2014. The frigid air and "pola
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Aaron Harris—Reuters
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See the Worst Natural Disasters of 2014

When it comes to acts of God, 2014 wasn't a particularly active year. No powerful hurricane struck the U.S. like Sandy in 2012 or Katrina in 2005. There was no singlecatastrophic event like the Asian tsunami of 2004, which killed nearly 300,000 people, the Haiti earthquake of 2010, which killed over 200,000, or even the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland in 2010, which disrupted air travel for weeks.

But while there wasn't a single iconic catastrophe, Mother Earth was still plenty busy in 2014. A volcano in Hawaii, a typhoon in the Philippines, wildfires in California and seven feet of snow in Buffalo—this year has witnessed its share of extreme weather and other natural disasters. The photos that follow are a reminder that when the Earth moves or the heavens strike, the results can be gorgeous to see—provided you're not caught in the middle.

MORE: The most beautiful wildfire photos you'll ever see

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