Under normal circumstances, the Stacks layer creates a new block with every new Bitcoin block. In other words, the current consensus mechanism (Proof-of-transfer) ensures everything that happens on the Stacks layer, eventually ‘settles’ to the Bitcoin base layer. But sometimes, a new Bitcoin block will come and go without a new Stacks block.
There are several reasons Stacks blocks might be missed this way, all of which are within the normal bounds of healthy operation. That doesn't mean, however, that this behavior isn't without downsides. When blocks are missed, especially several in a row, transactions are forced to wait longer for confirmations which negatively impacts the user experience. Because the network has seen this happen a couple of times in the past several weeks, this post will synthesize information on the causes and solutions.