St. Petersburg, FL - Rainwater is acidic and eats away eroding the soluble rock we build our homes on in Tampa Bay. When rainfall moves through the soil it dissolves the limestone creating caverns. Some may grow to a point where the land above the spaces collapse. They may become more frequent after intense rain but droughts and pumping too much water out of the aquifer can result in sinkholes.
The picture shows most of the areas is prone to sinkholes. Areas in orange have a Karst type topography that results in quick forming dramatic cover collapse sinkholes. The hole that swallowed a whole house in Seffner while a man slept in his bedroom was this variety. While these are the largest they tend to be fewer south of Tampa Bay. Sinkholes in the yellow areas take a longer time to form and may give way to surface cavities slowly.
There are few clues as to whether a sinkhole is developing under a home. Cracks in the driveway or foundation may be signs of a sinkholes.