They say the sinkhole developed as a result of tropical storm Agatha, right in the middle of Guatemala City, not far from the Pacaya volcano that recently erupted. No one is saying the two events are linked, but it does seem like an unlikely coincidence.
Most sinkholes form from the movement of water under the surface. The water either dissolves soft rock (where the rock underground is made of limestone, dolomite, carbonate rock, salt beds, or other rocks that can be dissolved). Sometimes the water is natural (like the tropical storm) and sometimes it's the result of man's activities such as water-pumping and construction.Four cars drop into sink hole in Moscow's south west
In the United States, certain states are more prone to sink holes (Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Pennsylvania) but they can turn up other places, too, where one finds abandoned septic tanks, trash/garbage dumps that creates air pockets, mining activities, drilling wells close to each other and severely lowering the ground water level (exposing holes underground), or construction like building houses that adds weight to the surface.
Sink holes happen other places, too. Apparently Russia and around the Dead Sea have some rather spectacular sink holes, but even right here in Pennsylvania, we've had a number of bizarre holes. We assume it's all from mining, though, since the area is honeycombed with mines.
There is a good article at the Inspecting the World website (http://www.nachi.org/sinkholes.htm) that talks about the warning signs of sinkholes. For example, in buildings, cracks in walls, muddy well water, doors/windows that don't open properly. Other signs are objects that had previously been buried showing up (we're not talking bodies here, but things like foundations and fence posts), a circular pattern of ground cracks, sudden formation of small ponds or large puddles where none used to be, plumbing issues, slumping fences or trees, etc.
The US Government's website (http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/earthgwsinkholes.html) Water Science for Schools has a very interesting map of the United States that indicates prevalence of sink holes in various states.