Settling the Pacific (image) University of Utah Share Print E-Mail Caption This map of the Pacific shows the estimated number of years ago (years B.P. or before present) various island groups were settled, starting with the Bismarck and Solomon Islands 3,470 years ago. The compass shows the direction of prevailing easterly-southeasterly winds and the directions for safer or more dangerous journeys by early seafarers in canoes who settled the Pacific 3,500 to 900 years ago. A University of Utah study used mathematical modeling to show traveling against the wind during exploratory voyages was likely one of their strategies. If an exploration failed, the seafarers could then turn around and return home safely with the wind. Credit Adrian Bell, University of Utah Usage Restrictions None Share Print E-Mail Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.