In January 1998, the collaborative ice-drilling project between Russia, the United States, and France at the Russian Vostok station in East Antarctica yielded the deepest ice core ever recovered, reaching a depth of 3,623 m. Ice cores are unique with their entrapped air inclusions enabling direct records of past changes in atmospheric trace-gas composition. Preliminary data indicate the Vostok ice-core record extends through four climate cycles, with ice slightly older than 400 kyr.