The origin of the overpressure in the northern Qaidam Basin has not been clearly understood, which has caused some difficulties in hydrocarbon exploration. Using a compaction study, we applied a modified acoustic-velocity and effective-stress diagram to identify the overpressure transfer in the study area. This phenomenon has not been discussed in previous studies. For the present study, we approximately calculated the magnitude of the transfer overpressure and analyzed the cause of the overpressured aquifer at the crest of the anticline in the study area. Our study indicates that the effect of overpressure transfer is very distinct, and the largest contribution to the total overpressure is 57%. The main media of overpressure transfer include vertical faults and lateral conducting layers. The vertical faults can connect deep overpressured strata, and the lateral conducting layers can connect overpressured strata at the top and wing of the anticline. During anticline formation, the crest fractures, and then the overpressured water in the anticline wing flows into the fractured crest and forms the overpressure compartment that prevents the charging of deeper natural gas.

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