Stunning Nature Photography From 2014

Science shows us the new discoveries that change the world along with the amazing natural phenomena that have amazed humanity for thousands of years.

This year, our observations of the natural world around us were some of the most incredible yet.  

In 2014 we saw volcanoes pouring ash into the sky, forest fires ripping across the landscape, and waterfalls nearly freezing solid.

Mount Sinabung, a large volcano on Sumatra Island in Indonesia, has been erupting on and off since September of 2013, covering the area with ash and forcing thousands of people to flee their homes.

In 2015, biologist Alexander Semonov will head up the Aquatilis Expedition, an around-the-world journey documenting never-before-seen marine life. Here's a shot he took of one of two known species of Spirobranchus, a small genus of fanworms.

The entire island nation of Kiribati is vanishing because of global warming. On average, land in Kiribati is only six feet above sea level.

A terrifying forest fire tore through Valparaiso, Chile, in April.

Mike Hollingshead makes a living following the worst storms in America, from snarling tornadoes chewing up the Kansas farmland to supercell thunderstorms massing over the Dakotas. This supercell photograph was taken at a York, Nebraska truck stop after a day of chasing storms.

Contrary to some reports, Niagara Falls didn't totally freeze, but the polar vortex formed enough ice to create some spectacular images.

North Brother Island shows what happens to a the world abandoned by humanity.

While this shot may seem beautiful, it takes on a sinister aspect when you realise it's a photo of the polluted Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn taken by photographer Steven Hirsch.

California's drought just kept getting worse. The remains of an automobile are pictured on the bottom of the Almaden Reservoir near San Jose, California January 21, 2014.

A helicopter discovered this mysterious giant crater on the Yamal Peninsula of Siberia, a place referred to as 'the end of the world.'

The tiny Yemeni archipelago of Socotra has very unique plant life, a third of which can be found nowhere else in the world.

This shot of a controlled burn in Shawnee County, Kansas, was one of the most amazing photos we spotted in the Nature Conservancy's photo contest.

Environmentalist and aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand has collected 150 incredible images from the Betsiboka River in Madagascar emptying into Bombetoka Bay. The colours come from incorporating infrared, near-infrared, and ultraviolet light.

This is one of the winners from the Smithsonian's Wilderness Forever photography competition. Proxy Falls cascades down to a moss-covered forest in the Three Sisters Wilderness in Oregon. The Three Sisters are a series of three volcanoes.

Charles Krebs shot this amazing image of a beetle carapace for Nikon's 'Small World' photography contest.

Lightning strikes over Lake Maracaibo in the village of Ologa, Venezuela, where the Catatumbo River feeds into the lake, in the western state of Zulia October 23, 2014. Catatumbo is the lightning capital of the world.

A satellite captured a view of the erupting Mount Sinabung in Indonesia on Jan. 23, 2014. First responders can use such images to assess damage and help create evacuation plans.

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