Our thoughts and prayers are for the family in Florida that recently lost a loved one due to a sinkhole that began in their home. How do sinkholes develop? Is there a way to prevent them? We found some answers from this article on Sinkholes from the USGS Water Science School.
Addition: Here’s an audio recording of What’s up with Sinkholes? from the USGS that answers more of your sinkhole questions.
And now this topic is a Science Feature: The Science of Sinkholes including a video clip & images.