The Sierra de Santa Catarina is a chain of volcanoes. No fewer than 47 specially administered neighborhoods grew up around them in the City's southeast. Once known as the Sierra de Ahuízotl, the range's appearance struck ancient viewers as like the mythical amphibious animal emerging from the lake.
Today, it takes up most of the border between Iztapalapa and Tláhuac. It's among the most dramatic elements of the entire Mexico City skyline. It's also newly accessible, and certainly visible, from Cablebús Line 2 which cuts across southeastern Iztapalapa, just north of the Sierra.
The City declared the region an Ecological Conservation Area in 1998. By 2000, the Sierra de Santa Catarina Partial Urban Development Program began working with residents to improve the area's quality of life.
Like the Sierra de Guadalupe, Catarina has seen its forests cut. Many of the volcanoes have been seriously reduced by the mining of tezontle, the distinctive red stone used in buildings across Mexico City.
All of the volcanoes in the range are monogenetic, meaning, they erupted but once and went dormant or extinct. There are about 3,000 of these volcanoes in all of Mexico. Those of the Santa Catarina mountain-range were all formed during the Mesozoic era, between 252 and 66 million years ago.